Olivia Wilde sidestepped rumors that Florence Pugh is not promoting “Don’t Worry Darling” due to tension between them, attributing her star’s silence to scheduling conflicts.
In a Thursday cover story, the director told Vanity Fair that Pugh is “one of the most in-demand actresses in the universe,” leaving little time for her to participate in press.
“I gather that some people expect for her to be engaging more on social media,” Wilde said. “I didn’t hire her to post. I hired her to act.”
Wilde continued: “She fulfilled every single expectation I had of her. That’s all that matters to me.”
The director was interviewed in late July, around the time that Pugh turned heads by sharing a poster for “Oppenheimer” – in which she has a supporting role – instead of the trailer for “Don’t Worry Darling,” which dropped on the same day.
Both during and after the film’s Sept. 5 premiere, Wilde doubled down on her praise of Pugh and dismissed the drama as “baseless.”
“Florence’s performance in this film is astounding,” she told Vanity Fair in a follow-up statement. “It’s just baffling to me that the media would rather focus on baseless rumors and gossip, thereby overshadowing her profound talent. She deserves more than that. As does the movie, and everyone who worked so hard on it.”
In Venice, Pugh walked the red carpet with the rest of the cast, but skipped the pre-screening press conference after it was reported that she was taking a late flight from Budapest (where she is currently filming “Dune: Part 2”). She declined Vanity Fair’s requests to comment for the profile.
Reports of Pugh and Wilde’s fallout intensified after Shia LaBeouf spoke up about why he left his co-starring role in the project. (He was later replaced by Harry Styles, Wilde’s now-boyfriend, allegedly another source of tension between herself and Pugh.)
Previously, Wilde had stated that she fired LaBeouf due to his “combative energy”; in the new profile, she says Pugh told her she was uncomfortable with the actor’s behavior. After LaBeouf claimed that he actually quit the film because of a lack of rehearsal time, Wilde told Vanity Fair that his departure was more complicated than it seemed.
“This issue is so much more nuanced than can be explained in private texts released out of context,” she said in reference to her leaked messages with LaBeouf. “All I’ll say is he was replaced, and there was no going forward with him. I wish him the best in his recovery.”
A source told the magazine that LaBeouf gave Wilde an ultimatum, and that the director had chosen to stick by Pugh, “allowing” him to believe it was his choice to quit.
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